Salon owners hope for U-turn on hike in their VAT rates
Deirdre and Anthony Kilcoyne, who run a well-established hairdressing salon in Sligo town, say a dramatic hike in VAT rates could not have come at a worse time and plan to protest outside the Dáil.
Company director of Salon 2 on Adelaide Street, Ms Kilcoyne said they are in the process of a large development.
"We are expanding our salon," she said.
There has been widespread concern across the hairdressing sector over the VAT hike from 9pc to 13.5pc announced as part of Budget 2019.
Ms Kilcoyne said she learned yesterday that the Hairdressing Council of Ireland will stage a protest outside Leinster House on Tuesday, October 23, which will highlight the concerns of the sector, and she plans to attend it.
"We are really disappointed that it has gone up by so much," she said.
They were hopeful that if increases were required, they would be staggered, she said.
Ms Kilcoyne pointed out that the Government has made U-turns before, "so we are hoping they will".
"Even if they phased it in, you know, that would be brilliant," she told Independent.ie.
She believes the VAT hikes will hit salons such as theirs harder than some, as they employ all their staff. "We are a team," she said. "We have 26 staff members."
However, other salons operate a "rent-a-chair" system, where a hairdresser is effectively self-employed within the umbrella of a salon. "So they are making lots of money without all the overheads," Ms Kilcoyne explained.
Speaking about the VAT hike, she said: "We wouldn't be able to absorb that kind of a difference. Our prices would be a lot lower than the big cities, without doubt. There are an unbelievable amount of hairdressers in Sligo.
"Everybody is getting caught in this Budget from what I can see," she added.
Her husband, who is the creative director at the salon, said that as well as the VAT hike, the Government has also increased the rate of employers' PRSI contributions in the Budget, which is an additional cost.
But if salons hike prices, it's been shown that people spend longer between visits.